Simon Trueman, the Waggoner at “The Victorian Farm” demonstrating an important skiing principle.
In most Ski Schools the Ski instruction uses bad language. I don’t mean swearing, I mean they describe very badly what you need to do to improve your skiing.
Words are the keystrokes with which we programme our minds. Use an incorrect or inappropriate word to describe something and you put the wrong idea, an incorrect understanding, into peoples’ minds.
To improve your ski learning keep taking the tablets: they don’t work if you don’t take them.
To improve your ski learning– or indeed to improve skill with any technique or group of techniques, somewhat resembles looking after your health.
Your doctor diagnoses some ailment or other. Next she prescribes a treatment that you need to keep applying. She gives you the medication, and off you go.
You are keen to make things better, so you apply the medication regime, and sure enough things begin to improve. They continue to improve right up to the point where you are no longer aware of the symptoms that drove you to her in the first place. So it is with your skiing skill. Continue reading
Ski Boots – dispelling some myths.
Ski boots can be the key to success, or the bane of your life. Every pupil I have ever had, was initially “over-booted”. In every case, the first change that made a really lasting difference to their skiing was changing either how their ski boots were fastened, or even changing their ski boots.
Like every other aspect of skiing, ski boots are part of the industry. Selling ski boots is a money earner. Nothing wrong with that, except that there will always be a strong temptation for the sellers to want to “up-sell” their customers to a more expensive ski boot.
But be wary, be very wary, because ski boots are surrounded in myths, and they are likely to entrap you. For the vast majority of skiers the belief is that ski boots needs-must be very tight and quite possibly painful. This is wrong. Continue reading
Ordinary people do amazing things when they don’t know they can’t. I looked up “open-mindedness” in the Thesaurus and it came up with Acceptance, Interest, Observance, Receptiveness and Understanding. All of which, it seems to me, are pretty handy when you want to develop more skilful skiing. More of which, below the fold here – Continue reading
Who Larry Gelwix is or was I have no idea – but he was right. Practice makes permanent – it habituates. Here’s another one –
Aristotle said that, but as you’ll see below, John Shedden said it first!
I was reading an interesting article about a study that was done at the University of Texas on practicing habits. Continue reading
Every experiment is a good experiment. Except one. That is the one the outcome of which you do not ascertain. That experiment is useless.
An experiment cannot go “wrong”. You do an experiment and something will happen or become manifest. It doesn’t matter what happens. It could be in this direction, or that direction. It could be positive or negative. Black or white. Hotter or colder. Faster or slower. Every result is a worthwhile result.
Every experiment is a GOOD experiment. Except one!
It’s exactly the same with us and our skiing. Learning controlled skiing requires experimentation. What it illustrates is “The Kneed to Knowtice”. New words, invented by me – I figure if Dr. Johnson could do it, so can I ! Good, effective experimenting is a skill, and can lead to skilful skiing. Continue reading
Took me years to realise that you will never develop skilful controlled skiing – or anything else physical – by watching an expert do it, or looking at pictures. In fact the very worst thing you can do is watch an expert. It’s depressing, because you can’t see what they are really doing. That’s why on our skiing courses we spend a lot of time on the understandings.
Skilful skiing – not learnt by watching others.
If you could learn by watching I could play concert piano like Ashkenazy, and golf like Tiger Woods. Whereas in fact, I can play concert piano like Tiger Woods, and golf like Validimir Ashkenazy !
Anybody can become a skilful controlled skier. Anybody. It is nonsense to suppose that only “born athletes” (there is no such thing ) can do it. The potential to become a first rate skier does not suddenly atrophy when you get to forty. Neither is it closed off to you if you are born female. Anybody can do it and it is never too late. What you need is a better style of teaching and learning than most people get access to. Usually something with a bit less “gung-ho”. Continue reading
Skiing on one leg?
A further free extract from “Controlled Skiing”, my upcoming book taking a different slant on how to develop your ability to ski in control at all times on all pistes.
On one leg? Not literally perhaps, although it is perfectly possible, as you can see.
David Swedlow demonstrating.
Elsewhere in the book we have considered what it is makes a ski perform the functions we want it to. Mostly these functions are either changing direction, or skidding to resist accelerative onward motion. In all cases this involves tilting the ski and bending the ski. Continue reading
Ski in Control using your mind.
This morning my long suffering wife made some smarty-pants comment about my memory being somewhat suspect. Dammit she’s right.
The ensuing conversation (not a heated debate) raised an interesting issue related to skiing, and how to ski in control. Why is it, we wondered, that memorising things has never been that easy even when we were young? And yet once we know how to do something, there is no need to memorise it. Once you know something, memory is not required. This can lead to difficulties – if you have practiced “doing turns” sufficiently often for example you will have trapped yourself into a very limited kind of skiing from which escape and further development will be jolly difficult, because “doing turns” is not an appropriate concept. Continue reading
For some the idea that a skiing performance review would have anything to do with recreational skiing might seem a bit odd, but I don’t believe that. Most of us would like to come home after our skiing a bit better skiers than we were when we set off.
Confidence! That’s what you need.
It’s terribly easy to succumb to negative thoughts about our skiing; it often only takes a small fall, or a getting a bit scared, or even just thinking the last 100 yards “should” have been better. We also know that our thoughts drive our subsequent behaviours into either virtuous or disastrous circular feed-back loops.
So any tool we could use to help us control our skiing minds would be a good thing. I know of one, that really works. Continue reading